Nanaimo RCMP are searching for a thief who snatched a bike after threatening to punch a young boy outside of a community swimming pool.

Nine-year-old Ewan Snikkers was inside the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre March 25 at around 5 p.m.

As his 12-year-old brother Wyatt watched their bikes outside, a man approached him.

“He comes up to me, he says ‘Hey man, do you know what time it is?’” Wyatt recalls. “I said ‘No sorry, I don’t.’ He said ‘Well it’s time to steal your bike.’”

Wyatt said the man swore at him and threatened to punch him, then despite his objections, grabbed his brother’s bike and took off.

“He grabs it, pedals away and yells ‘Thanks for the bike,’” he said.

Ewan came back and saw his brother was visibly upset, then learned his bike – which he saved $620 over two years for – was stolen.

The man was last seen riding the stolen bike, described as a grey Devinci Jackson, eastbound on Third Street, but police couldn’t immediately locate him.

The boys were left devastated.

“Pretty mad and sad,” said Ewan.

“I was feeling so bad for my brother because he had just recently got it, and I was happy to go for a ride with him and it just ruined it,” said Wyatt.

Their mother said the theft has robbed the brothers of their freedom.

“This is the first year my youngest one started making money, doing actually work. They mow lawns, they do yard work. They work hard,” said Quinn Verbrugge.

The brothers are still hopeful the thief will do the right thing and turn himself in to police, or at least return the stolen cycle.

“I wish you’d give us back my bike,” said Wyatt.

Investigators are now sharing surveillance images of the man, described as a white 25-35 year old, 5’6” with a thin build and short blond hair.

He was wearing a black jacket, light coloured blue jeans, beige Timberland boots and sunglasses with white rims, according to police.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.